Video Game Design School

True gamers don't just play games, they make them

Video game designers are willing to work hard so that others can play hard. The demand for professionals is rising every year as old games are updated, new games are designed and players demand better graphics and game play. The best video game designers combine a love of playing with a good understanding of computer programming and natural skills in art and design.

Getting Educated

Many design schools don't want to put the word "game" in the title of their programs, so you may have to enroll in a program in digital arts or interactive media.

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On the other hand, some of the more serious academic institutions in the country, such as MIT, now feature programs dedicated to game design. There are even graduate degrees in video game design, offered by schools that are newer and more forward-thinking.

Basic video game design courses consist of about 500 hours of class time or class work. During this time, you will get lot of practice designing and developing games. Most game programmers are taught C++ or a similar language.

Finding a school that's accredited is usually very important, but it's less vital when it comes to video game design and programming. In an industry this young, schools have not had the time to go through the long, bureaucratic process of accreditation - they can still be excellent institutions staffed with excellent teachers and industry experts interested in helping young game designers.

Job Prospects

Video game designers who come from a strong arts background are the ones who do the best in the industry. You also need technical skills, of course - artistic vision won't get you far in game design if you don't understand the capabilities and limitations of programming languages.

Most designers have at least a post-secondary degree, with a combination of practical training (in college) and theory (in university) being the best education possible. As important as education can be, however, many designers learn their most valuable lessons through experience.

It's possible to freelance as a game designer, but the real money is in working for one of the large game design companies. When you're investigating the possibility of a career in game design, bear in mind that there are many subcategories within the field. In every game design company, there are four basic departments involved:

  • Design
  • Artistic
  • Programming
  • Testing

Employees working in game design typically earn more than $60,000 per year.

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